PE school ‘kidnapper’ found
Gareth Wilson | 2017-05-26 14:41:27.0
Image by: STEPHEN LAM
A man who unwittingly caused widespread panic about kidnappers staking out Port Elizabeth schools has been found.
Parents and schools were on full alert on Wednesday after a message warning of a suspicious vehicle spotted outside one school went viral‚ morphing into claims an attempted kidnapping at another school.
On Friday‚ police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said police had tracked down the “suspicious” vehicle and its owner – an Uber driver waiting outside a school for a pick-up.
“When he saw two women emerge from the school‚ he assumed that it was his passengers. According to the driver‚ he enquired from the women if [they were his customers] and when they replied that they were not his passengers‚ he drove off‚” Naidu said.
“He was not parked directly at the school but at the given location by the people who logged the call through the Uber app.”
Meanwhile‚ his customers had decided to walk further down the road while waiting for him‚ “hence the confusion”.
The driver’s version of events was verified by the police‚ “who inspected the Uber app and everything was in order”.
Naidu commended residents for their vigilance but pleaded with them to verify information before spreading it on social media.
“We were inundated with calls from panicked parents and schools. By this stage‚ the message had become extremely distorted and there was talk of abductions‚ all of which was false‚” she said.
More worrying‚ said Naidu‚ was that a registration number circulated on various platforms and could have resulted in someone being killed or injured in the belief that he was going to commit a crime.
“Distortion of facts could have dire consequences.”